How to prepare your car for hot weather

Motorists can face challenges in hot weather conditions. (Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire)

As the UK navigates its way through a record-breaking heatwave, many aspects of life have had to be adapted to cope with the extreme heat.

With the Met Office issuing its first ever red weather warning for extreme heat, some areas have seen school closures, as well as businesses choosing to change office work times to stay out of the hottest temperatures.  

However, it’s transport that has seen some of the most significant changes, with the UK rail network painting several lines white to reflect heat, as well as disruption to timetabling and even melting roads.

As such, some commuters (that have no choice but to travel) have been forced to use their cars… and not just for the air conditioning.

Plenty of motorists have been looking into how to get their cars ready to withstand the record-breaking heat and hot temperatures further in the summer.

Here are some tips to help you best get ready to face the heat out on the roads…

How to prepare your car for hot weather

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The RAC (who provide breakdown cover to around 13 million UK private and business drivers) expect a significant increase in call-outs, with the potential for an additional 1,000 breakdowns than is usual for mid-July.

They provide several tips for preparing your car for hot weather, including:

  • Ensure oil and coolant are at the correct levels
  • Check tyres are free of damage
  • Ensure tyres are inflated to the proper pressures
  • Check tyres have plenty of tread
  • Carry an emergency breakdown kit that’s appropriate for the weather

In a press release, RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: ‘Drivers in vehicles without effective air conditioning should consider delaying any non-essential journeys by car over the next few days until temperatures begin to fall and the Met Office’s weather warning no longer applies, or use the car during the coolest parts of the day.

Many tourists choose to travel by car to the coast in a bid to cool off by the sea. (Picture: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images)

‘This is particularly important advice for vulnerable people, including the very young and elderly, for whom the extremely high temperatures pose a clear health risk. We also want to remind drivers never to leave pets in a hot car, which can prove fatal.’

He went on to say: ‘At these sorts of temperatures, melting roads are also likely – with blacker patches of tarmac being the most obvious sign. Drivers therefore shouldn’t be surprised to see some gritting trucks out, as spreading a fine granite dust can help improve vehicle grip on softening road surfaces.’

‘Drivers also shouldn’t be alarmed if they see water underneath their vehicles, which is normally just condensation coming from the air conditioning unit.’

What should be in your emergency breakdown kit during a heatwave? 

Should the worst happen, it’s essential to be prepared for a possible breakdown during extreme temperatures.

  • Plenty of water for the driver and all passengers – consider carrying a camping-style water carrier, so you’ve always got plenty with you
  • Sufficient snacks that won’t melt or go off in the heat – in a coolbox if you have one
  • Hats and umbrellas to shield from the sun
  • Sunblock 
  • Emergency medication if needed
  • A fully charged mobile phone – on smartphones, download and login to your breakdown service’s app to reach help as quickly as possible (this can also help with precisely locating your vehicle quickly)
  • A means of keeping pets secure if you have to leave your car – and sufficient food and water for them

MORE : How much water should children drink in a heatwave?

MORE : Weather UK: When is it officially a ‘heatwave’ and why do they happen?

MORE : How has climate change affected heatwaves?

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